New York City shined even brighter Monday night for the spectacular premiere of the new movie musical, “Hairspray.”
John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer were among those on hand for the big event — and like true musical performers, they didn’t stop singing each other’s praises.
“It took a year for me to ascertain who were they hiring for the other cast members,” Travolta told “Access Hollywood’s” Tim Vincent. He had to be sure that everything was perfect before he’d agree to put on a dress and play the role of the blustery, overweight mother, Edna Turnblad.
“I wanted Michelle, I wanted Chris Walken, and I thought they were important because they have a pedigree of musical,” he revealed.
“Oh, that makes me feel really good because (Travolta is) absolutely one of the reasons that I did it,” Pfeiffer said. “When I found out that he was playing, I thought, ‘brilliant.’ There aren’t that many actors that could pull that part off.”
But it wasn’t only Travolta who faced a challenge with his role. Pfeiffer had to contend with the fact that her character, Velma Von Tussle, wasn’t the most ... “likeable” of people.
“I fell in love with the script and the project and the people involved, certainly before I fell in love with Velma,” Pfeiffer remarked. “I’m not sure that I actually ever fell in love with her, but I certainly had a good time playing her.”
On top of starring together in “Hairspray” (an adaptation of a hit Broadway musical), Travolta and Pfeiffer have also starred in separate “Grease” movies... but is that their only connection?
“We heard that (Pfeiffer) auditioned for ‘Urban Cowboy’ many years ago,” said Vincent told Travolta. “Do you remember anything about that?”
“She was very good,” Travolta replied, noting that Rene Russo and Kim Basinger were also up for the female lead in the 1980 film. “She could act it, but Debra (Winger) was more kind of (a) ‘cowgirl’ type. The other girls were more ‘beauties.’”
As for Pfeiffer, she remembered that audition very well. “He was so sweet to me,” she recalled. “It was so many years ago, and I was so nervous, and got to dance with him. No, I didn’t get the part, but he was just darling.”
That was many years ago. Now Pfeiffer is a seasoned world-famous professional with two children. And her kids got a special treat at “Hairspray’s” premiere in L.A.
“It was the first premiere they’d ever been to,” she told Vincent. “And it was the perfect one. I’m so glad that I waited for this one, because it was so much fun. I was really proud.”
Travolta was filled with pride, too, as he stood on the red carpet.
“I love bringing a film to New York,” he remarked. “Especially when it was based on a Broadway show. ‘Hairspray’ was born here as a musical — it’s great to come full circle.”
“Hairspray” opens nationwide on Friday, July 20.